Why Will Smith Thought Ralph Macchio Had Insulted Karate Kid’s Reboot

Will Smith Jaden Smith

Getty Will Smith and Jaden Smith pose together in 2017.

Since the premiere of the first “Karate Kid” film in 1984, Ralph Macchio, 59, has been associated with the martial arts franchise. He appeared in three “Karate Kid” movies and currently reprises the role of Daniel LaRusso on the series “Cobra Kai.” The iconic character, however, was not featured in the 1994 sequel “The Next Karate Kid” and the 2010 “Karate Kid” reboot, which starred Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.


Will Smith Called Ralph Macchio After He Made Comments About the Reboot

Ralph Macchio

GettyRalph Macchio is photographed at ‘The IMDb Show’ in 2019.

Before the remake’s release, Macchio commented on the film, which elicited a response from one of its producers, Will Smith. While speaking to Page Six in 2009, the actor revealed that the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star “called [him] because initially, he thought [he] was slamming the remake.” Macchio asserted, however, that was not the case. Rather, his statements regarding the reboot were misconstrued. 

“Someone just asked me if I was pleased that fans were against the idea, which of course made me feel good. Why wouldn’t it? But that got twisted and Will called me up and he’s such a cool guy. He was like, ‘I know I’m messing with your baby but I want you to be happy, so we’ll do anything you want,’” explained Macchio. 

He also noted that he declined Smith’s offer to give him a bit part in the reboot. The actor explained that he felt if he were “to do a drive-by cameo” it would be a disservice to fans of the 1984 film. He noted that he possibly would have been interested if “they wrote a role for [him] that made sense.” He asserted, however, that “seeing [Daniel] as a grown man could sully [the] legacy” of the original franchise. 


Ralph Macchio Currently Plays an Adult Version of Daniel in “Cobra Kai”

William Zabka and Ralph Macchio Comic-Con

GettyWilliam Zabka and Ralph Macchio speak at the 2019 Comic-Con in San Diego.

As fans of “Cobra Kai” are aware, Macchio has since changed his opinion about playing an adult version of Daniel. The show, which is available to stream on Netflix, depicts the martial arts enthusiast as a successful business owner, devoted to his family. Unfortunately, his idyllic life becomes a bit more complicated when his former rival, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), opens his own dojo under the Cobra Kai name.

During a 2018 interview with Audacy News, alongside his “Cobra Kai” co-star William Zabka, Macchio revealed why he decided to star in the acclaimed series. He noted that both he and Zabka had been turning down “Karate Kid” reboot ideas “for decades.” He explained, however, that he was interested in this specific project because it focused on Johnny’s perspective. The father-of-two then compared the show to the Broadway musical “Wicked,” which tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

“A lot of the reviews have been mentioning how “Wicked” has been told through the eyes — the Broadway musical — of the Wicked Witch and then you deal with both characters as protagonists and antagonists,” said the actor.

Zabka added that it was important to him that his character learned from his mistakes on “Cobra Kai.” He also appreciated that the show gave Johnny “layers” and that the audience is able to “understand him.”

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